George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General John Sullivan, 25 June 1776

From Brigadier General John Sullivan

[Île aux Noix, Quebec] June 25th 1776

Dear General

This morning at Day break I rece’d your Excellencys favour of the 16 Instant—am Extremely mortified to find that Every thing here has Turned out Contrary to my Expectations & your Excellencys wishes This was not owing to my being Deceived with Respect to the Enemy on the ground at the time I wrote but to the Sudden arrival of Such a number under General Burgoyne the night before the battle of Three Rivers of which I have given a full & perfect account in former Letters—I am Conscious of having Done Every thing in my power to gain the ground our Troops had Lost & to Secure the Retreat of the Army when I found our point could not be carried I Imagine that General Schuyler forgot to Inclose the Return as I think it went from me at the time but I am not Clear whether it did not go in a Separate Letter I Dare Say it has Reached you before this I now Enclose another which wish Safe to hand & hope to have a more Compleat & perfect one in a few Days which I Shall forward to your Excellency.1

I am well Convinced of the Necessity of a good understanding being kept up Among the officers of the Army This has been remarkably the Case Since my arrival I have not Seen an Instance to the Contrary Except Some few Reflections which Seemed to take place between the Northern & Southern Troops which I hope I have Sufficiently Cured by calling upon the officers of Every Corps & requesting them to Surpress a Thing which if Continued must weaken if not Destroy the Army they all agreed to Join heartily in putting an End to this Dangerous behaviour among the troops which I am Convinced they did as I have heard nothing of it Since & find that Harmony takes place among the troops in a Surprizing manner in all our Difficulties there Seemed a unanimity of Sentiment among all the officers—Indeed I have not known the Least Dispute among them the unfortunate General Thompson the Baron de Woedkle & Myself were at Sorell Never did greater harmony and friendships Exist General Arnold was at montreal & kept up the most friendly Intercourse & Correspondence with us & we with him it is true I thought the keeping Colo. De Haas from Sorell was wrong but only Supposed it an Error in Judgment as I did that of his keeping the forces in too great numbers at the post up Country2 Th⟨is⟩ I communicated to him in the most friendly manner which he Accounted for in a way that Convinced me that he Acted not without Some foundation Though I Think it would have been better had it not been Done—assure yourself my Dear General that I will Exert myself in Cultivating Harmony & friendship among both officers & Soldiers in the Army & That I am with the most profound Respect your Excellenceys most Devoted Humble Servant

Jno. Sullivan

P.S: The Brigade major & adjutant of the Day have this moment informed me that while they were parading the main Guard four men Dropd Down under Arms & appeared Like Dead men. I am almost Distracted with the thought of Loosing So many men as Daily go off by Sickness I Shall to Day remove from this Infectious place to Isle Le Mott which I Should have done before now had not too many of our Batteaus gon forward with the Sick to Crown point. Yr Excys most obedt Servt

J. Sullivan


1The missing return was the one of Col. Charles Burrall’s Connecticut regiment that GW was supposed to have received with Sullivan’s letter to him of 5–6 June (see also Sullivan to GW, 8–12 June, and GW to Sullivan, 16 June). It has not been identified.

2For Sullivan’s earlier criticisms of Arnold regarding these matters, see his letters to GW, 5–6 and 8–12 June.

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